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Avera addresses changes to health insurance benefits of state employees

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SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota — Avera Health says state employees can still access some of its specialty services without being charged higher out-of-pocket costs due to recent changes to benefits.

Recent changes to state benefits classify certain categories of health care as "Tier 1" with limited options for the most affordable treatment.

Avera says state employees can still access its cardiology, orthopedics, bariatric surgery and gastrointestinal services without being charged higher out-of-pocket costs.

The changes went into effect July 1. They put more of the burden on the insured and relieve pressure on the state.

The new benefits also mean that state employees, many of whom are based Pierre, will have to travel more than three hours to Sioux Falls and other cities to the east for the most affordable specialty health care.

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